Dubai successfully concluded the 48th International Association of Professional Congress Organisers (IAPCO) Annual Meeting & General Assembly, which took place on 16-19 February at the Hyatt Regency Dubai Creek Heights. Hosted by Dubai-based IAPCO member company Meeting Minds Experts, and supported by Dubai Business Events (DBE), the city’s official convention bureau, the gathering further fortified Dubai’s position as a global knowledge hub and a city of the future. Dubai is the first city in the GCC region to host an IAPCO Annual Meeting & General Assembly, a feat that reaffirms the emirate’s standing as a prime international destination for meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions.

The theme for this year’s prestigious event – Leading the Future, Creating Opportunities – brought together 120 IAPCO members and partners from over 30 countries, making it one of the largest IAPCO meetings to be held since its first meeting in 1969. The Assembly offered attendees a unique platform to engage in dialogue pertaining to the evolving nature of the conference industry, and its impact across the globe. It is estimated that members of IAPCO collectively organize over 8,500 meetings per year with an economic impact of over €5 billion (US$5.3 billion) per year.

Issam Kazim, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM), said: “We are extremely honoured for the opportunity to host an event of such a calibre and welcome members of IAPCO to the city we fondly call home. This further strengthens Dubai’s profile as a premier international business event destination and highlights the emirate’s diversified offering – comprising global connectivity, state-of-the-art facilities, first-class infrastructure, and great hospitality – to key stakeholders who shape the business events industry. As our reputation of being a dynamic host city for business events grows, we anticipate further growth in the number of visitors to the emirate in line with Dubai’s Tourism Vision for 2020 and the UAE Vision 2021.”

Over the course of four days, the meeting facilitated engaging and thought-provoking sessions that offered an exclusive opportunity for key opinion leaders and IAPCO members to network, exchange ideas and discuss the key theme at hand – creating opportunities and leading the future. Members also discussed the challenges faced by the conference and convention sector in an interdependent and rapidly evolving global scenario. Additionally, attendees explored latest trends and solutions aimed at enabling the industry to adapt to the present world. Speakers participating in the event included Sarah Al Almiri, Chairwoman of The Emirates Scientists Council Science Lead, Emirates Mars Mission (Hope Mission), and Majran Faraidooni, Vice President – Legacy EXPO 2020.

Commenting on the meeting, Jan Tonkin, President of IAPCO, said: “This year’s annual meeting and general assembly offered a unique platform to discuss the all-important quality standards we strive to achieve globally, and to network with other like-minded partners in an environment that is more than collegial. Attendees were made privy to best practice in addition to witnessing outstanding presentations from experts who stimulated each to think differently.

“Dubai is one of IAPCO’s key corporate partners and a staunch supporter of the quality standard of PCOs that guide our membership. There is no doubt that Dubai has made an enormous commitment to fostering business tourism. The construction of excellent internationally-appointed facilities, a plethora of hotel accommodation that meets the needs of delegates from all over the globe, and a wide-reaching marketing campaign have all contributed to the city’s success.”

Medhat Nassar, Chief Executive Officer of Meeting Minds Experts, the Dubai based IAPCO member company, added: “Hosting IAPCO this year is testament to Dubai’s reputation as an emerging force, as well as a business and innovation hub across all economic segments. Dubai is leading the way in offering a platform for inspiring initiatives, which when combined with the emirate’s high standards of quality, and ease of doing business, becomes key drivers for economic development, and provides stimulus for creating forums, conferences and events that focus on innovation, knowledge exchange, marketing, research and professional advancement.”